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Tax Incentive Evaluation Commission Uncertain About What Exactly They’re Looking For

ay Moon, president of the Mississippi Manufacturers Association, speaks about state incentive programs during a special meeting Wednesday at the Oklahoma state Capitol.
Brent Fuchs
The Journal Record

The state has identified several dozen tax breaks to be reviewed over the next few years.

Out of the six dozen or so tax incentives, rebates and credits that are up for review, there are four that could wind up not being an incentive at all.

As The Journal Record’s Dale Denwalt reports, that’s because the type of loan or exemption might not fit the narrow definition written by the Legislature last year when the Incentive Evaluation Commission was formed.

“(Those) could probably go either way, and we’ve asked the commission to discuss with their appointing authorities whether they believe those meet the definition of ‘incentive,’” said John Estus, public affairs director with the Office of Management and Enterprise Services. The shorter list includes the Rural Economic Action Plan, a $10.8 million economic development program used by small cities and towns for infrastructure projects. Other items that must be reviewed are the Small Business Administration guarantee fee tax credit, alternative fuel vehicle loans and the gas usage tax credit for manufacturing.

By next month, the commission will decide whether these things meet the criteria of what lawmakers asked them to review.

From Denwalt:

Oklahoma Policy Institute Executive Director David Blatt said that the commission should review energy industry tax breaks and the Quality Jobs Act. “This is the job that you guys have to go forward,” Blatt said responding to a question from the commission about which incentives they should review first. “I assume you’re going to do research into it, come up with criteria, come up with your recommendations, and I think it’s going to be an important process. If I could say, ‘Here’s the ones to do away with,’ then you wouldn’t be needed.”

Commissioners are expected to review 17 incentives before the Legislature reconvenes next year. Among the ones most likely to be reviewed are the most expensive ones, like the capital gains deduction and the home office tax credit.

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Brian Hardzinski is from Flower Mound, Texas and a graduate of the University of Oklahoma. He began his career at KGOU as a student intern, joining KGOU full time in 2009 as Operations and Public Service Announcement Director. He began regularly hosting Morning Edition in 2014, and became the station's first Digital News Editor in 2015-16. Brian’s work at KGOU has been honored by Public Radio News Directors Incorporated (PRNDI), the Oklahoma Association of Broadcasters, the Oklahoma Associated Press Broadcasters, and local and regional chapters of the Society of Professional Journalists. Brian enjoys competing in triathlons, distance running, playing tennis, and entertaining his rambunctious Boston Terrier, Bucky.
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